What To Know Before Keeping Backyard Chickens

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More and more people are starting to build coops and keep flocks in their backyards. It’s not just rural farmers and animal enthusiasts, either. Even people in big cities are starting to keep the occasional chicken flock. Whether you’re looking for farm fresh eggs, pest and weed control in the garden, or just an entertaining outdoor pet, chickens are an increasingly popular choice for families of all sizes and locations. However, starting your own backyard flock requires some research and preparation. Make a happy, healthy home for your new birds with this list of what to know before keeping backyard chickens.

Hens Don’t Lay Eggs Forever

Logically, you might already know this. However, many new chicken owners don’t consider a hen’s unproductive years when starting their flock. Most chicken breeds only lay eggs for two to three years. What are you going to do with your hens once they grow too old to lay? Some chicken owners think of their flock as pets rather than livestock, so they choose to keep hens long after their egg-laying years. Others might invest in poultry processing supplies and turn their older hens into meat. You can also sell hens to other farmers. What you do with older hens is up to you, but it’s important to have a plan in place so that you don’t wind up with a flock full of hens you no longer want.

Chickens Have Personalities

Even if you simply keep your birds as livestock, one of the most importantthings to know before keeping backyard chickens is that they are full of personality. Chickens have intricate social lives, entertaining behaviors, and endless curiosity. Your flock will need entertainment and enrichment—it’s as important as food, water, and a safe place to sleep at night. Be prepared to keep your flock happy as well as healthy. Provide toys and treats for entertainment. Learn the different factors that stress chickens out and make a safe environment for your birds to live as comfortably as possible. The happier your birds are, the healthier and more productive they will be in your backyard coop.

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